Hot Toddies heat up the Station, explain musical backgrounds

By Joseph Stephenson

The Hot Toddies drew a crowd to the Skagway Pizza Station on Saturday April 27. opening with their rendition of the Mack Rice classic “Mustang Sally.” Excited fans immediately began dancing and didn’t stop till the end as the “Toddies” put their personal touch on Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ roll,” Adele’s “We Could Have Had It All,” Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House,” and many others.
The Hot Toddies first ever gig occurred six or seven years ago at the Elks Solstice Party. Then the band consisted of Candace Cahill (vocals, guitar, bass, saxophone), Tom Lux (bass, guitar, vocals), Chris Wassman (guitar, vocals), and Kathy Wassman (vocals, congas, trumpet) with the music falling mostly into the folk genre. Last summer they added Mike Tranel (drums), Lisa “L.C.” Cassidy (vocals, percussion, trombone), Zack Wassman (guitar), and Andrew Cremata (harmonica), allowing the transition into rock ‘n’ roll and blues without abandoning their folk roots.

HOT STUFF - The Hot Toddies get the crowd moving at The Station during a gig last month. Katie Emmets

How did you choose your band name?
Kathy: We actually came up with it while we were in the hot tub eating tater tot casserole.

Tell me about your musical backgrounds.
L.C.: I began piano lessons at age four. Since then I’ve played Irish whistles, concertina, and trombone. Growing up there was a lot of jazz music and big band stuff being listened to in my household, so that kind of drew me in. I like switching it up. Keyboards will be the next thing.
Mike: I learned how to read music in fourth grade. In sixth grade I learned to play guitar and played for two years and then I got really interested in drums. Then in high school they needed someone to play the sousaphone, so I did that for awhile. I started playing drums in a band in bars when I was fifteen. The drinking age was eighteen then, so I wasn’t too far apart in age.
Kathy: I played piano in second grade, which lasted maybe a couple of weeks, but it got me interested in music. I started playing the trumpet in elementary school and played it all the way through high school. I was drum major as well.
Candace: Great visuals.
Kathy: A solid band geek all the way. I never would have gotten through high school without band. Then, I was in a band with my college room mate and a group of really great Filipino musicians. We did Filipino weddings up and down the California coast. It was very interesting and culturally awesome. Out of college I met Chris and we’ve always loved music and loved singing and playing together. When we got the band together with Tom and Candace we decided I needed a prop, since everybody played an instrument but me. So I picked up the mandolin and played that a little bit. But mainly my love is vocals. I play the congas as well which is a ton of fun.
Chris: I’ve been singing since Foreigner 4 came out. I started playing guitar when I was 18, because of a couple of knee surgeries. If you’re going to be laid up for a couple of months you gotta do something, so I started playing guitar. I’ve always loved music. Played mostly for myself in my twenties. It wasn’t till I was in my thirties that I started playing for other people, usually around a campfire.
Tom: I played tenor saxophone in high school. I’d dabbled with guitar before that but put it down for awhile. Then I got Candace a guitar for her birthday. Candace was gung ho about performing in front of people. I have stage fright like you wouldn’t believe.
Candace: He’d get so nervous for me that he’d throw up.
Tom: I’d have to leave the room when she’d sing. Anyway, just before we got married I bought her another guitar, so with two guitars in our place I started to play the second guitar. We started playing little duets and stuff. And then when we got married my mom and dad came to town, so I decided to get up at open mic at the Bonanza. I must have shook completely off the stage I was shaking so bad. There were only three chords to the song and practiced it over and over again. I got lost I don’t know how many times during the song, but I did it. I joined community choir after that. I was with a group of people that were all trying to produce something. As soon as I was with those people I found the strength to perform.
Candace: My mom got me a guitar when I was nine. I played it for a couple of years and then I quit. In high school I joined choir and band and played sax. I played gospel choir in college. I was the only white girl. The others would ask me ‘are you sure you’re not black?’ It was fun. We had a good time. Right before Tom bought me the guitar there was a two person band in town that summer and she convinced me to play one song with them at the Bonanza open mic. It was ‘Come To My Window.’ After that I really wanted a guitar. And I remember opening up the apartment door and there was a guitar. I played and it was like I’d never put it down. Not that I was a good guitar player by any means, but I remembered chords and songs.

The Hot Toddies will be back at the Skagway Pizza Station on Saturday June 1 as part of a fundraiser for Lynne Cameron. They will also be at the Bonanza Bar and Grill on Friday May 17. For complete details checkout the Hot Toddies on Facebook.